One of the best and memorable characters Lohithadas has created is Sethu in Kireedom. Sethu was a simple man with a simple dream and slowly circumstances turned his world around. This is exactly what happened to another Lohithadas character, Bala Gopalan in Thaniyavarthanam who was branded as a lunatic due to a history of mental disorders in his family. The success of the writer was in making us believe in those characters and their trauma, but while seeing the character, Aravindan (Dileep), in Chakkaramuthu we were left wondering on what happened to Lohithadas of the last decade.
Aravindan, a tailor, is naive and a good hearted man. In fact he is so naive that he believes almost everything his friends say and so is affectionately called pottan. Aravindan’s object of affection is Anitha (Kavya Madhavan) who stays with her mother. Aravindan runs errands for them and is a constant fixture in their house with complete freedom. While Aravindan dreams of Anitha all the time, her affections are for Jeevan (Jishnu), her rich class mate. Things do not turn out well for Anitha with Jeevan and she ends up murdering him. The only person she can trust at that point is Aravindan, but by then her family is out there trying to put the blame on Aravindan to save Anitha. To find what happens to them you have to endure torture for about two hours.
One of the techniques to portray a naive man would be through situations, but Lohithadas decided to add a bit more weight to the character by changing his looks and by adding an irritating style of conversation and at the end of it Dileep’s character looks like a cross between Kunji Koonan and Chanthupottu. In fact Aravindan is trying very hard to be this simpleton through dialogue and mannerisms that he annoys us and does not get any sympathy. Dileep has done his best to pull off this character, but the weakness in the character turns out to be his Achilles Heel.
Kavya for a change gets to emote which is refreshing after seeing movies like Inspector Garud. In one instance she is Aravindan’s friend, Jeevan’s girl friend and her mother’s loving daughter. When her mother turns against her for going out with Jeevan, she does a Nagavalli type character change and becomes very adamant, angry and vindictive. Then in the next frame, she turns out to be playful again as if the emotional roller coaster ride in the previous ten minutes had never happened. As this character goes through comedy, romance, anger one after the other, the narrative seems to have degenerated into a vaudeville act.
Among this bunch of flawed characters, one man gets the role of his life time and that is Sai Kumar. As Anitha’s uncle, he gets some of the best scenes and flow in terms of consistency in character. When we see him the first time, we know that he loves his niece very much and as the story progresses, we see that love deepening to an extent that he is willing to do anything to save her. If Lohithadas had given the same attention to Aravindan and Anitha as he had given to Sai Kumar’s character it would have been an intense movie.
When this movie was released, it was called Chakkarapottan and had a tragic ending. This did not go well with the audience and the in the new climax Dileep does not die and Kavya is not shown in a mental asylum, but instead they walk in slow motion smiling. To understand how patched up that ending looks, you have to see the movie. Just five minutes before the ending, it was intense drama with Anitha and Aravindan lying on a railway track waiting for the train to come with a bunch of policemen running into save them. Back at her house on knowing that Anitha had murdered Jeevan, Sai Kumar asks the police to catch Aravindan and frame him for murder. Then suddenly you see both Anitha and Aravindan walking off smiling towards the sunset and you wonder against which wall you should bang your head.
Out of all the Lohithadas movies we have seen, this one is the worst. He is one of our finest script writers who can churn out very intense tales and for once we kept on wondering if it was the same man who did this atrocity. The only saving grace in this movie is the song Karineela Kannilenthedi, but you can watch that on YouTube and save yourself from rest of the torture.